Ojo Olayinka, a young candidate of the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) running for the Oyo State gubernatorial seat, in this interview with Kunle Sanni, explains his plans to end the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso crisis if elected in 2019.
PT: What are your plans for the LAUTECH crisis and how do you plan to resolve the conflict between the two states – Oyo and Osun.
Ojo: The LAUTECH crisis is part of a greater problem we have as a state and a people.
One sad but obvious fact is that quality university education is expensive, it is not free and it is not compulsory also.
It is good for us as a people to have university graduates everywhere. But I ask a basic question, ‘to what end’?
Some of the biggest companies in the world no longer require you to have a university degree to land some of the finest jobs in the world.
We produce graduates for which we may have no need. Why expend so much money training a biochemist when it is obvious he will become a fashion designer.
Why not identify that talent in him and train him appropriately, and those who really want to practice, we have no openings for them.
So, the bottom line is we need to revisit the educational architecture of the state.
LAUTECH is stressed. Emmanuel Alayande College of Education is struggling to stay afloat due to low patronage. Every parent wants their children to be university graduates, even those who, sadly do not have the means.
Now, specifically to your question. If elected Oyo State governor, I will call Osun State back to the table and renegotiate ownership of the institution.
We can pay them off or seek other means of having full ownership of the institution, without jeopardizing the interest of the people of Osun.
Although not enough, Oyo State government has been keeping a fair share of her deal. We will improve on that and re-engineer the University for Higher Productivity.
The two states need not deceive themselves, it is an alliance that is not yielding desired results. Not only in funding and administration but the fact that education is no more in university classes but on the streets of the internet. Education is one of the sectors we hope to leverage on to increase the state’s productivity.
PT: What is your next plan if you do not emerge the winner in the coming elections in 2019?
Ojo: Maybe I should state why I wish to be elected Oyo State Governor to start with. I want the youth to know that nothing can stand on the way of a determined mind.
We as youth have strength and vigour on our side. We need not be paranoid of failure to the extent of not trying. I will contest that office with several billionaires and people of means, more than 20 other candidates, but the gospel truth is, only one of us will win. So if you spend billions and you have 300, 000 votes and I have just 5 votes more than you, then you lose, I win.
You lose along with those that have 200 votes and those with no money. It’s the people that determine this thing and that’s a choice about 2.4 million voters in the state will determine.
So, if I win, which I am sure I will, then I am sure I will be a great success, it takes great goodwill to win an election and that’s what we need to move Oyo state forward.
PT: Why did you not start from the grass root like the house of assembly or a counsellor for your state what made you go for the governorship seat?
That’s what I chose. I believe I will make a greater impact as a governor. You should ask me why I didn’t run for president. I am 38, and I have a verifiable certificate. I meet all the requirement to be elected Nigeria’s president, so, why not the presidency?
PT: Do you support local government autonomy?
Ojo: I support local government autonomy 100 per cent.
Nigerians are interesting people. We tend to run away from our fears. Sadly, things we fear don’t disappear because we run.
In the case of local government autonomy, the loudest voice against it has been of teachers who feel they cannot trust local government chairmen with their salaries. That is like throwing the baby away with the bath water.
Local government is the closest to the people. I can say categorically that one way out of massive infrastructural deficit in the country and especially in Oyo state is local government autonomy. It is a clear case of ineptitude when state governments cannot support grassroots development but sabotage it because they cannot meet up with their responsibilities. If elected Oyo State governor, local governments will be empowered to deliver, autonomously.
PT: What will you do differently, if elected?
Ojo: I will coordinate the resources of the state for higher productivity and creativity. I believe the major responsibility of a government is to provide the people with an ambiance to grow and maximize their potentials.
Our people are bitter because they are struggling and suffering. They believe the government is not concerned with their plight. They don’t trust the government. They see politicians live in affluence, so, when they speak of recession or low IGR, the people don’t believe them.
I will build trust. I don’t have a programme that will lift people out of poverty but those that will make them grow out of poverty. We will run inclusive and participatory governance, not an emperor-like kind of structure we currently have.
We need to be super creative as a people, if we want to tap into the emerging prospects of the 21st century. The government cannot deliver it, it is a new kind of power that must be taken and shared with the people, not given.
If elected Oyo State governor, you can look forward to a state that will beat Lagos state in IGR and have the lowest unemployment figure in the country.